Photo of Jonathan Birch

Jonathan Birch

Professor of Philosophy
London School of Economics and Political Science


Dr Jonathan Birch is a Professor of Philosophy at LSE.



Areas of expertise

  • Animal sentience
  • Animal welfare
  • Animal ethics
  • Evolution
  • Altruism
  • Cooperation


Dr Jonathan Birch is a Professor of Philosophy at LSE and Principal Investigator (PI) on the Foundations of Animal Sentience project. He mainly works on animal sentience, cognition and welfare and the evolution of altruism and social behaviour.

He joined LSE in 2014. Before moving to London, he was a Junior Research Fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2013, with a dissertation entitled Kin Selection: A Philosophical Analysis.

In 2014, he was one of four UK philosophers honoured with a Philip Leverhulme Prize, which recognize “the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising”.

He has published widely on various topics in major philosophical and scientific journals, including Nature Medicine, Current Biology, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, The American Naturalist, Biological Reviews, Nous, Philosophical Studies, Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy of Science, and The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. His first book, The Philosophy of Social Evolution, was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

In 2021, he led a "Review of the Evidence of Sentience in Cephalopod Molluscs and Decapod Crustaceans" that led to invertebrate animals including octopuses, crabs and lobsters being included in the UK government's Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022.

Types of Engagement


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